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He was the son of Rostislav Mstislavich, prince of Kyiv. His mother's name is not known. He was prince of Kyiv several times, most notably before 1202, and 1207 - 11. He is shown on this family chart. He married Anna, daughter of Yuri Yaroslavich, prince of Turov. His sons were Rostislav, prince of Kiev; Vladimir, prince of Kyiv. His daughters were Maria (who married Vsyevolod Yur'yevich, prince of Vladimir), (another, who married Gleb Svyatoslavich, prince of Chernigiv and had a son named Mstislav), and Predslava and Vsyeslava, who married Yaroslav Glebovich, prince of Ryazan. Predslava was married to Roman Mstislavich, who was prince at Novgorod but then prince of Vladimir-in-Volynia.
These two sometimes were allies but also were enemies in the ever shifting family balance of power politics in Russia, especially after Roman deserted Rurik's daughter. Rurik was involved in the struggle between the sons of Rostislav Mstislavich and Andri Yur'yevich over the throne at Kyiv. He held the throne seven times and lost it or gave it up voluntarily. He is mentioned in the Lay of Prince Igor as one of the Kyivan leaders supplying troops. When he was not fighting other Rus princes, he was campaigning against the Polovtsi or with them as allies. In the 1180's he helped his son in law, Roman, to regain his capital at Vladimir-in-Volynia. But by the 1190's the political maneuvering of Vsyevolod Yur'yevich of Suzdal brought Rurik and Roman into conflict over various towns around Kyiv. In 1202 Rurik prepared to take the offensive against Roman at Vladimir-in-Volynia. But the Kyivan leaders opened the city gates to Roman, forcing Rurik to flee. Roman gave the city to his cousin, Ingvar Yaroslavich. In 1203 Rurik returned and devastated Kyiv with his Polovtsi troops. In 1205 Roman Mstislavich forced Rurik and his family to take monastic vows, but that didn't hold him back. He regained the Kyivan throne the next year and only gave it up in 1211, this time to Vsyevolod IV Svyatoslavich Chermny. He then switched back to Chernigiv where he died in 1215.


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